Direct health-care costs for children diagnosed with genetic diseases are significantly higher than for children with other chronic diseases
Marshall DA, Benchimol EI, MacKenzie A, Duque DR, MacDonald KV, Hartley T, Howley H, Hamilton A, Gillespie M, Malam F, Boycott KM. Genet Med. 2019; 21(5):1049-57. Epub 2018 Sep 24.
Purpose — We aimed to estimate direct health-care costs and physician utilization for a cohort of children diagnosed with genetic diseases.
Methods — Retrospective cohort study using population-based provincial health administrative data for children with genetic diseases (n = 255) compared with three matched cohorts (asthma n = 1275, diabetes n = 255, general population n = 1275). We estimated direct health-care costs and resource use 5 years after diagnosis in five categories: physician billing, same day surgery, emergency, inpatient hospitalizations, and home care.
Results — During the postdiagnostic period, annual mean total costs for the genetic disease cohort were significantly higher than all other cohorts. Annual mean total costs for all cohorts were highest in the year after diagnosis with costs for the genetic disease cohort between 4.54 and 19.76 times higher during the 5 years. Inpatient hospitalizations and physician billing accounted for the majority of costs. The genetic disease cohort received more care from specialists, whereas the chronic disease cohorts received more care from general practitioners.
Conclusion — Direct health-care costs for children with genetic diseases are significantly higher than children with/without a chronic disease, particularly in the year after diagnosis. These findings are important when considering resource allocation and funding prioritization for children with genetic diseases.